Blood in the Bathroom by Rose Haze

Disclaimer: I do not own The Suite Life of Zack and Cody

Author's Note: Minor warning: While there is nothing too graphic, I should mention that there is a lot of blood in this chapter. In other news, I would like to thank everyone who reviewed or PMed after the last update! I replied to all of the reviews, but I still have to get back to those who left messages. Your support means everything and I am so happy that there are still some people who want to read this story!

A/N 2: This one is specifically for someone who at one point went by the username littlerascalash. Unless I'm going crazy you sent me an e-mail or a PM or maybe even a review last time I updated, and I must have accidently deleted it because I cannot find it anywhere. I would have loved to reply, but I somehow lost the original message, so I apologize. But I would really like to hear from you again if you see this! Unless I dreamed the whole thing up, which would be very weird!

Chapter Nine

All Through the Night

To spare oneself from grief at all cost can be achieved only at the price of total detachment, which excludes the ability to experience happiness." -- Erich Fromm

Zack dropped his backpack onto the ground and frantically rifled through it. Since it was so warm out he had shoved the sweatshirt he had worn to school inside of it before leaving the building. The sweatshirt actually belonged to Cody. As he knelt on the ground he held it close and tried to breathe in the scent of his brother, but there was nothing there. He had nothing left of him.

"Cody," he mumbled tearfully. He buried his face in the sweatshirt.

A hand dropped to his shoulder and he shook it off. He did not want to deal with the stupid cop. He just wanted to be left alone.
But the hand was persistent; somebody crouched down in front of Zack and put his hands on either side of his face. Furiously, Zack looked up. The concerned face of Cody floated before him.

Relief pierced Zack's heart. He dropped the sweatshirt and fell into Cody's arms, sobbing.
"I know," Cody murmured. He rubbed Zack's back, "Zack, I'm so sorry," he said. A shudder went through his body and he gripped Zack a little tighter, "I thought you got hit."

The front of Cody's shirt was damp with Zack's tears.

"Thought it was you," Zack mumbled into the blue cotton. He felt Cody squeeze his shoulder reassuringly, "These people said someone died. They said there was blood in their blonde hair…" frantically he pulled back, "Cody—Mom!"

Cody was staring at him with a worried look on his face, "No, Zack," he said carefully, "Mom's okay. She was looking for you."

Zack pressed his face against Cody's shoulder. 'I was so scared,' he wanted to say, 'we were fighting and I thought you died while you were mad at me.'

He didn't say anything, but his brother seemed to get the message.

"God," Cody said, still holding onto him, "You were really worried, weren't you?"

Zack nodded silently. He felt Cody sigh.

"Come on," Cody said after a moment. He patted Zack's back, "let's get you inside. We have to talk."

Zack felt Cody put his hands under his arms and pull him up to his feet. Apparently you didn't just calm down after panicking like that, because once Cody let go of him, Zack began to sway. After picking up the backpack, Cody grabbed Zack's arm.

"Hey, man, are you okay?" Cody asked him, steadying him.
"Dizzy," Zack mumbled.
"Come on," Cody said, he slung Zack's arm over his shoulder and walked him inside. As they passed the taped off area of the wreckage, Cody made a point to block Zack from the view.
"Don't look, Zack," he muttered, "I'll tell you everything when we get inside."

Zack obeyed. They were able to walk through the front doors of the Tipton without anybody stopping them. The lobby was almost as chaotic as the parking lot had been. There were police officers walking around, talking to bewildered guests. Mr. Moseby was leaving with one of them just as Zack and Cody walked inside. Cody led Zack to the elevator. Before pushing any buttons, Cody stood on his tiptoes and looked around, "there's mom."

Carey saw them right away and hurried over to where they were standing.

Zack's arm slipped from Cody's shoulder and he walked up to his mother. She embraced him so quickly and with so much force that Zack stumbled.

"You scared us, Sweetie," she said. She crouched down slightly so that she could look into Zack's wide eyes, "Oh, Zack, I'm so sorry."

Zack stepped back. He looked at Cody, "You said you were sorry too," he glanced from his brother to his mom, "What's going on? What happened?"
Cody fidgeted, "I didn't tell him."

"Tell me what?"

Carey's eyes, which were already red from crying filled up with tears, "Sweetie, this whole thing started when a reporter from a tabloid was trying to take some pictures of London. Some of the staff members chased him outside and Maddie... Maddie was one of the people who got hit."

Zack bit his lip, remembering the description from the lady from the parking lot.

"She's dead, isn't she?"

Carey wrapped her arms around him and kissed the top of his head, "I'm so sorry, Zack," she said as her tears fell into his hair, "I know how close you two were."

Zack closed his eyes. His entire body went numb. The day before Maddie was the one person who knew what he was going through, and now he was gone. But the tears that he spent on Cody moments earlier did not return. Zack could not feel anything.

Carey pulled back and wiped her eyes, "I want you two to go upstairs, okay? I'll be up as soon as I can, but first I want to stay down here and see if I can find London. She must be so upset."

"Shouldn't we stay too?" Cody asked her, "Maybe there's something we can do to help."

Carey looked over at Zack who had gone pale and was trembling. His gaze was vacant and he looked weak. She put an arm around Cody and whispered low, "Right now I need you to take care of your brother."
Cody looked over at Zack and saw that his mother was right. Under normal circumstances he knew that Zack would not be taking this very well. But along with how he had been acting recently, Cody worried that Maddie's death would cause Zack to lose it. He nodded at his mother, and then brought Zack over to the elevator. As they rode up to their floor, Cody kept his arm on Zack's elbow, because he still looked like he might just fall over.

Unfortunately, despite Cody's steadying hand; that is exactly what Zack did.

"Zack!" Cody cried as his brother fell to his knees. He knelt in front of him. He put one hand on Zack's side and used the other to cup the side of Zack's face, "What's wrong?"

Zack did not look Cody in the eye. He simply mumbled, "Maddie just died."

Cody squeezed his eyes shut. Don't cry in front of Zack, he demanded of himself, he needs you to be strong. Cody forced himself to blink away his tears. He forced himself to focus on Zack instead of Maddie.

"I know," he mumbled softly, "And it's not fair."

"It's not fair," Zack repeated. His voice was soft and monotonous. The elevator stopped, "We're here."

Cody helped Zack up and together, they walked down the hall to their suite.

"Do you think she was in pain?" Zack asked quietly as they entered the room.

"I hope not," Cody said, "I was looking for you the whole time. I—I knew that you didn't take the bus home and I thought you might have been hurt," he shook his head and then went on, "I ran to where the wreck was, just as the ambulances were pulling in. There were a few people lying on the ground, and a few more just walking around, with blood all over," Cody shuddered, remembering, "I was so relieved when I didn't see you or Mom there but then," he nearly choked on a sob, "there was Maddie."

They headed straight for the couch. Cody made sure that Zack was comfortable, and then he hurried off to get him some apple juice. He did not like how weak Zack seemed. He was afraid he would collapse again.

"Drink this," Cody ordered, handing him the cup. Zack looked up, "I'm not thirsty."

"Drink it anyways," Cody said gently, "You look like you're going to pass out, dude."

"I'm fine," Zack mumbled, but he took the cup and took a few sips.
Satisfied, Cody sat down next to Zack, close enough to him that their shoulders were touching, "Do you want to talk about what happened?"

Zack shook his head.

"Okay," Cody said, "We don't have to. But we can if you change your mind."

"Okay."

"Okay."

Silence filled the messy room.
"Do you want me to turn on the TV?" Cody asked.

Without answering, Zack stood up and walked to the door.

"Zack?"

Zack ignored him and went for his book bag, which Cody had discarded at the threshold of the room. He pulled Mr. Wolff's DVD out of his bag and brought it over to the couch.

"To Kill a Mockingbird?" Cody read from the cover. He looked up at Zack, "Aren't you reading that for English?"
Zack nodded. English was one of the classes that he and Cody did not have together. Cody's class had read To Kill a Mockingbird at the beginning of the year, and now they were on Animal Farm.

"Mr. Wolff gave me a special project," Zack told him in an expressionless voice, "I have to compare the movie to the book."

A deep crease formed down the center of Cody's forehead. He could not remember Zack ever wanting to do homework before—even if it was just watching a movie. Cody folded his arms and sadly watched as his brother got the movie set up.

"Zack, maybe we should talk about Maddie."

Zack looked down and closed his eyes, "No," he whispered, "No, Cody, please. Not yet."

Cody took Zack's hand and led him to the couch. He put his arm around Zack's shoulders, "I think it might help. I cared about her, too. I'm dealing with this just like you are."
Zack bit his lip, "Can't we just watch the stupid movie? Please Cody?"

Cody squeezed Zack's shoulder, "Okay," he said, "We won't talk 'bout it yet."

Zack nodded. He tipped his head sideways so he could rest it against Cody's shoulder. He closed his eyes and snuggled up against Cody's side. Even though they were always fighting lately, they were still brothers and best friends. And even though just thinking about Maddie made his stomach hurt so much that he thought he might throw up, he still felt so, so relieved that Cody was alive, and that he wanted to be there for him. As the movie began, Zack felt Cody gently run his hand up and down the top part of Zack's arm. Pushing all thoughts of Maddie out of his mind, Zack let the quiet sound of the movie and the gentle rhythm of Cody's comforting hand lull him to sleep.

ooo

Zack rode the elevator down to the lobby and waited for the doors to slide open. When they finally did, Zack felt his heart stop beating in his chest. The floors of the Tipton Lobby were littered with the broken and bleeding bodies of Zack's friends and family. He forced himself to exit the elevator and look around. Tears filled his eyes as he walked around the fallen forms of Cody, his mother, Maddie, and even his father. As he made his way through the lobby he saw Mr. Moseby, Mr. Wolff, Max, Tapeworm, and London. Everyone he cared about was lying on the floor, and they were all dead. He went back to the front desk where he first saw Cody. There, he saw Hannah, dressed in all black, cradling Cody's lifeless body in her tan arms.

"What are you doing!?" Zack exclaimed. He dove to the ground and pulled Cody's body away from Hannah. Cody's head fell back and smacked the hard wooden floor. One side of his face was covered in dark, sticky blood, while the other side was pale white. Cody's eyes were closed and his mouth hung open, blood trickled down his chin, and was seeping out of his ears too. Tears slipped from Zack's eyes.

"You've lost everyone," he heard Hannah say with a smug voice, "You're all alone."

"Shut up," Zack whispered. He pulled the body of his dead brother into his lap and held on tight. Why did they waste so much time fighting with each other?

"He's better off without you, you know," he heard Hannah sing, "He is happier now that he's dead because he doesn't have to deal with you anymore. So is Maddie."

"Don't talk about them" he snapped.

Hannah laughed, "You'll never know how much she couldn't stand you," she said, "for how annoying you were. She hated that you always went to her with your stupid little problems. I mean, seriously, Zack, Maddie was in high school. She had real issues. And you were always burdening her with your petty little whining about how Cody doesn't love you anymore now that he has me."

"Shut up," Zack cried again, "just shut up. You have no idea what you're talking about."
Hannah smiled, her dimple deepened in her curved cheek, "Yes I do," she said, "And there is something else that I know, Zack," she narrowed her eyes and leaned forward, "I know that it is all your fault that she died," she glanced around the bloody, morbid room, "It's your fault that all of these people died. You killed everyone that ever cared about you!"

Zack shook his head and pulled Cody's body up to his chest, "No I didn't," he sobbed. He buried his face in Cody's sticky, blood-covered hair. He looked back up... but Hannah wasn't there anymore. In her place sat Maddie. She had blood all over her like Cody did, and there was glass and gravel imbedded in her face.

"Maddie," Zack breathed, tears filled his eyes once again, "Maddie, you're alive!"

Maddie shook her head sadly, "No, Zack," she said in a low voice, "No, I'm dead and it's all because of you."

"Wh-what? No! Hannah was just saying all of those things to make me feel bad. I didn't—I didn't kill you guys."

Maddie sighed, "it was just too much. I could not handle your problems on top of my own. It just got to be too much, you know? It just crushed me."

All of the sudden Zack felt a strong pressure on his shoulders. It pushed down on him so that he could not breathe. He tried to scream but nothing came out. It wouldn't have mattered—everyone who was nearby was already dead.

"This is how it felt!" Maddie cried, "This is how you made all of us feel before we died.

"I-I'm sorry," Zack gasped as he tried to pull air into his lungs. But nothing helped. The last thing he was aware of was somebody shaking his body.

ooo

Cody continued to massage Zack's arm, even though he knew that his brother was asleep. He had fallen asleep just a few minutes after the movie started, and honestly, Cody was relieved. His stomach clenched up and his eyes filled with tears when he thought about Maddie, and he knew that it had to have been a hundred times worse for Zack. He glanced at his brother. Zack was still leaning against him in sleep. He had one fist unconsciously clutching the front of Cody's shirt. He had been in that same position for a little over an hour now. Cody tilted his face forward and placed a gentle kiss on Zack's temple. But when he pulled away he noticed that something was very wrong. Zack's lips had slipped open like he was screaming, but he did not make a sound. Quickly, Cody shifted and guided Zack up so that he was leaning entirely against the back of the couch instead of against Cody.

Cody knelt in front of Zack and squeezed his shoulders tightly, "Zack, wake up!"

Zack's mouth moved, "I'm...srrry..." he managed to choke out.

Cody shook Zack's shoulders, "You have nothing to be sorry for!" he cried, "Zack, it's okay, I promise that it's okay. But you're scaring me and I need you to wake up!"

Zack jerked back against the fluffy cushions and his eyes opened. He looked around before settling his gaze on Cody's worried face. He pushed himself up so that he was sitting at the edge of the couch. Cody got up from his kneeling position on the floor and sat next to Zack on the couch. He rested one hand on Zack's knee.

"It was all a dream," Zack murmured. He ran his hand through his hair, "It was all just a terrible dream."

"What did you dream about?" Cody asked him, giving his knee a light squeeze.
Zack shook his head, "I went down to the lobby and you, Mom, Dad, and like everyone else were all down there. But everyone was dead and bleeding all over the place."

Cody shuddered, remembering the terrible sight he saw in the parking lot that afternoon. It sounded like Zack faced similar images in his nightmare.

"That sounds awful," he whispered.

Zack nodded, "And in the part before that there was this big car crash in the parking lot of the hotel and at first I thought that you and mom were hurt or something, but it was actually Maddie that..." Zack's voice trailed off as his memories from that afternoon came rushing back to him. He looked up at Cody who had gone pale and wore a horrified expression on his face.

Zack swallowed and felt uneasy, "It's... that part wasn't a dream, wasn't it?"

"No," Cody whispered, shaking his head, "It wasn't. I wish it were, but... you know."

Zack nodded. Cody watched him carefully. At first Zack just stared numbly in front of him, but then some silent tears slid down his passive cheeks. His features crumbled, and then at last, a sob escaped from behind his lips.

"Zack," Cody murmured, moving his hand from Zack's knee to his shoulder, "Come here, man." He guided Zack down so that he was resting his head in Cody's lap. Once Zack was in a lying down position, he completely fell apart. He twisted so that he could bury his face on top of Cody's bent knees and he balled the loose denim of Cody's jeans in his fists and he held on tight. He cried so hard that his entire body began to shake and he didn't know if he would ever be able to stop.

Cody fought back his own tears so that he would be able to stay strong for Zack. He leaned in close to Zack's ear and whispered things that he hoped would somehow bring his brother some comfort, "It's okay, Zack," he said quietly, "I'm here, I've got you and I promise everything is going to be okay." He rubbed Zack's back and occasionally leaned forward to kiss the top of Zack's head. By the time Zack's cries faded away into deep, even breaths, the movie had ended. Neither of them had paid it one bit of attention.

Once Cody was sure that Zack had cried himself to sleep, he leaned back against the cushions and closed his eyes. Even though he had just been sitting there, he felt exhausted. With his arms still wrapped around his sleeping twin brother, he let himself fall asleep, comforted by the warm pressure of Zack's head nestled against his lap.

ooo

Carey had remained downstairs for over two hours after sending Zack and Cody up to their suite. She talked to the police officers and the guests and she tried to comfort London Tipton who had been inconsolable.

After leaving London with the one person who knew her best—Mr. Moseby—Carey finally decided that it was time to go see the two people who needed her. She pinched the bridge of her nose as she rode up the elevator. She did not mean to leave her boys alone for so long. But the closer she got to their floor, the guiltier she began to feel. She knew that London needed comfort and she knew that the cops needed answers. But Zack and Cody needed their mother. They needed guidance as they faced their first experience of the death of a loved one, and for two hours, she had not been there to give it to them.

As she walked into the suite, she tried to think of what she could possibly say to them. But when she walked inside she saw that the twins had solved that problem for her.

She approached the living room and saw that both of her boys were sound asleep, wrapped around each other on the couch. She sighed as she watched them sleep. She was so thankful that her sons were so close. They were all going to need each other as they tried to make sense of this tragedy.

To Be Continued

Up Next: Chapter Ten: Swimming/Drowning

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